Welcome to the Real World

Last week, I mentioned that the blog had been around for a year. Something I didn’t mention, but that perhaps goes without saying–since this blog is called The Graduated Equestrian–is that it’s also been a full year and a few days since I graduated and joined the “Real World” of adulthood. And despite a bit of a learning curve, it’s been a pretty great year.

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Photos by Lauren M.

Unlike many of the people I graduated with, I transitioned right to full-time with the company I was already working with. There was no huge gap between school and employment for me. I’m sure it’s a big reason why the rest of my first real year of adulthood went so well.

I also found myself with so much more time for horses. Where I was previously riding 3-4 times a week, I’ve been able to ride more like 4-5 times a week, with plenty of time to just hang out with my horse. I’ve spent so much quality time with Val, and I’ve had time to pick up extra rides  here and there, because I don’t have any looming paper deadlines or novels that absolutely have to be finished by Monday.

Time for adventures like XC schooling at MeadowCreek Park!

Because I’ve had so much more time, my horse has gotten so much more broke, and I’ve become so much more aware of myself as a rider and what I’m doing with my body all the time. We’ve also finally made our big move-up, quite successfully.

Speaking of my horse, I was able to buy a horse, because full-time equals a better budget!

I’ve had so much more time for traveling this year than I ever have before, but I’m also limited by PTO for the first time, and that requires a balance too.

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Being shown around San Diego by my best buddy has been one of the best parts of the two of us graduating. His being on a boat in the middle of who knows where for the last 6 months? Not so much.

This year of real world adulthood has had a learning curve. While I had to play with time management in college, it was a bit different. I had a long distance boyfriend, so I had to remember to save time to chat with him for at least a few minutes each day, and I often had to set aside weekends to go visit him, but I was basically on my own and didn’t have anyone but Lily waiting for me at home.

That changed in January when J moved up and we jumped from living in different cities for 4.5 years to living in the same 1 bed/bath apartment. Where before I ate a lot of chicken nuggets and wine for dinner, I suddenly had someone cooking real meals and expecting me home at some point for dinner. I’m so fortunate to have an SO who has known me since my working student days, so he gets the obsession as much as a non-horse person can. He’s endlessly patient with me and the hours I spend at the barn, but it’s still been tricky to find a balance between work, barn time, and remembering to make time for him so he doesn’t feel too neglected.

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The best SO who not only tolerates, but enables my obsession by taking most of the photos you see on the blog.

In a previous post, I was asked how I keep him happy and ride my horse all the time, and I don’t really have an answer anyone wants to hear. I’m really not that great at it. But he’s amazing at finding that balance by just tagging along to lessons, being the most helpful horse show boyfriend ever, and working his schedule around my riding schedule when he has to. Knowing all of this though, I do limit how often I go out with barn people without him, and I make sure to set aside at least one to two evenings during the week where I don’t go to the barn, and I spend time with him.

Now that I’ve been doing fairly well on my own, I keep going back to a question someone asked me my Junior year in college which was this:

“An English degree? What are you even go to do with that? You’ll never find a good job or support yourself.”

Finding a balance has been tricky, but I think I have all the right pieces to make the equation work.

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So many things to smile about around here.

I’m finding that all of the things that scared me and that at least a few people said could only end badly have actually turned out to be amazing.  I graduated, and already had work, which pays for all of our living expenses and my hobbies and I even have a growing 401k (probably the most grown up milestone actually). I bought a horse, and since doing so I’ve accomplished some goals and fallen so much more in love with him than I ever would have if I hadn’t bought hi,. J moved in and instead of things falling apart, it feels like we’ve been doing this forever and I’m more sure he’s my lobster than ever. I even started a blog and kept with it for a whole year! For someone who flits from one thing to another, that’s pretty big.

The “Real World” was pretty daunting this time last year, and things like rent and vet bills are definitely not glamorous at all, but I’m starting to think maybe adulthood isn’t so bad.

12 thoughts on “Welcome to the Real World

  1. Hopefully things continue to go well for you as you traverse the adult world and you learn to roll with the punches and go with the flow as things shift and change as well 🙂

  2. Not that I’m that far ahead of you, but man it feels good to be a productive member of society, doesn’t it? Like yeah, I can manage my money and get to appointments on time and my life DIDN’T IMPLODE. Milestones in adulting, it’s a real thing.

  3. Congrats on adulting. Keep up the good work. The PTO thing sucks though, right? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started demanding more and more PTO.

    1. It’s cool, because now I still get paid while I’m on vacation, but it’s a bummer because before I had all unpaid the vacation I wanted and now I don’t. I think over all it’s a win, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind for future negotiations!

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